Monthly Archives: June 2011

Choosing a Book to Read That Is Just Right

Young children learning to read want to impress their friends, teachers, family and themselves with their reading abilities.  They often choose books to read that they would ‘like’ to be able to read, but are not necessarily ready to read and comprehend what has been read.  They have to be taught that a good book should fit them ‘just right’ the same way that a good pair of shoes fits you ‘just right.’  A good tool for children to use when choosing a book is the ‘5 word check’.  What this means is that your child chooses a book, he/she opens to the first page and if he/she finds 5 or more words that he/she cannot read on the first page, then this book is too challenging and should be put aside for later reading. Repeat the process until your child is able to read the first page of a book with fewer than 5 miscues, then he/she will have found a book that is ‘just right’ for his/her  reading ability.


Leave a comment

Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Reading

Sight Words to Learn for First Grade

Your kindergartner has only been out of school for only a few short weeks, yet I am already thinking about building his/her reading foundation for first grade.  Many first grade classrooms teach reading in guided reading groups, which is a small group of children placed together because they read on or about the same reading level.  The first grade teacher will be teaching your child the numerous strategies needed to decode new words; however, you can help your child in this process by helping him/her to learn many or all of the sight words that will be needed in first grade.  Sight words simply are all of the words that your child will be expected to ‘know’ how to read and he/she will face these words several times on every page of print.  Many of these words cannot be sounded out so your child will be expected to read them by ‘sight’, thus the name ‘sight words’.  I am giving you two sites to check out, both have the first grade list of sight words in alphabetical order and one has them on flash cards that you can print out, cut and use with your child.  These same sight words will be words that your child will be expected to be able to write and spell correctly in his/her first grade writing. If you start the process know and go over a few a day, you will be amazed at how quickly your child is able to build his knowledge of these sight words.

Site 1 has all of the recommended sight words along with color pictures that you can print out to use when your child is building sentences using these sight words.

Site 2 has all of the sight words by grade level

Leave a comment

Filed under First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Reading

My Child Reads Chapter Books

“My child is reading chapter books.”  I think that just saying these words out loud makes many parents feel an enormous sense of pride about their children. Many parents see this reading ability as some sort of developmental milestone.  Teachers would definitely disagree with you.  As a former Kindergarten teacher and now First Grade teacher, one comment that I hear every year at Open House is a parent telling me that his/her child is reading chapter books.  More often than not, when I get this same child and read with him/her, my perspective is very different than the parent’s perspective. When a child shows interest in reading chapter books, parents’ interaction with their young readers usually tapers off.  Parents mistakenly think that if their child is reading chapter books, that they don’t need to read with them anymore.  Nothing could be further from the truth! Young readers need role models and daily interaction with an adult while they read.  Young readers who are reading chapter books on their own, often become sloppy readers who invent words, add words where they don’t belong and omit words. If you think that your child is reading chapter books, LISTEN TO HIM/HER READ.  Look and listen to see if your child:

  • Stops appropriately at all punctuation marks
  • reads all words as written
  • does not add words that are not there
  • does not omit words that are there
  • reads with enthusiasm, not a monotone voice

Stop your young reader and ask these questions:

  • Who are the characters in the book
  • What is the setting
  • Start at the beginning and tell me everything that has happened so far
  • What do you think will happen next
  • What does this book make you think about?

A good reader will be able to answer comprehension questions about the book without any hesitation.  Parents, before  you tell a teacher, friend, relative that your child is reading chapter books, please be sure that he/she is not only reading words, but really is able to comprehend ALL that has been read. Just being able to read the words, is really only the beginning of reading.


Filed under First Grade, Reading

Stay Tuned

I have decided to come back…write some more, this time I will be writing about first grade.  Stay tuned, once I get out of school next week, I will begin writing again.  Thanks to all of the faithful readers who have continued to read my blogs even while I was taking this year off.  Check out this site as I will write here…just don’t know what I will call the blog now.


Filed under Parents